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Complete 2014 schedule announced for Pirelli World Challenge

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The complete schedule for the 25th anniversary season of the Pirelli World Challenge was released by WC Vision during this week’s SEMA Show festivities in Las Vegas.

The GT and GTS classes are set to compete in 16 races across nine event weekends, while the Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec classes will have 14 races in seven weekends.

GT/GTS kicks off their 2014 seasons as part of the lineup for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 28-30), and TC/TCB gets started at Barber Motorsports Park on April 25-27.

In all, six event weekends will be run in conjunction with INDYCAR, including the aforementioned St. Pete and Barber, Long Beach, Detroit, Toronto, and Sonoma. The series will also be part of weekends for Trans-Am, ARCA, the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and the NASCAR K&N Series.

2014 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

March 28–30, 2014
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, FL
GT/GTS Rounds 1 and 2, with IndyCar – street/airport circuit **

April 11–13, 2014
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
GT/GTS Round 3, with IndyCar – street circuit *

April 25–27, 2014
Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, AL
GT/GTS Rounds 4 and 5, TC/TCB Rounds 1 and 2, with IndyCar – permanent road course **

May 16–18, 2014
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
TC/TCB Rounds 3 and 4, with Trans-Am Series – permanent road course **

May 30–June 1, 2014
Grand Prix of Detroit, Detroit, MI
GT/GTS Rounds 6 and 7, with IndyCar – street circuit **

May 30–June 1, 2014
New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ
TC/TCB Rounds 5 and 6, with Trans-Am Series and ARCA – permanent road course **

June 19–21, 2014
Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
GT/GTS Round 8 and 9, TC/TCB Rounds 7 and 8, with NASCAR Nationwide Series – permanent road course  **

July 18–20, 2014
Honda Indy Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
GT/GTS Rounds 10 and 11, with IndyCar – street circuit  **

August 1–3, 2014
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH
GT/GTS Rounds 12 and 13, TC/TCB Rounds 9 and 10, with IndyCar – permanent road course **

August 22–24, 2014
Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, CA
GT/GTS Rounds 14 and 15, with IndyCar – permanent road course **

August 30–31, 2014
Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, MN
TC/TCB Rounds 11 and 12, with Trans-Am Series – permanent road course **

September 12–13, 2014
Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, UT
GT/GTS Round 16, TC/TCB Rounds 13 and 14, with K&N NASCAR – permanent road course **

** denotes double race weekend   * denotes single race weekend

Romain Grosjean pleased with initial Haas simulator feedback

KANNAPOLIS, NC - SEPTEMBER 29:  Romain Grosjean of France speaks during a press conference as Haas F1 Team announces Grosjean as their driver for the upcoming 2016 Formula 1 season on September 29, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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Romain Grosjean felt pleased with his first simulator run in the new Haas Formula 1 car ahead of its on-track debut in Barcelona on February 22.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will take his F1 operation onto the grid this season after two years of preparation, with Grosjean joining ex-Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez at the team for its maiden campaign.

Ahead of the car’s first on-track run at the beginning of pre-season testing in Spain later this month, Grosjean has completed some laps in it using a simulator, and reported that the initial feedback was positive.

“The impressions were quite good, even if in the beginning it was necessary to resolve a lot of small technical problems such as turbo lag, the energy recovered under braking, etc,” Grosjean told L’Equipe.

“The morning was spent doing this. But once everything was settled we had the opportunity to run extensively in the afternoon.

“I think the car’s baseline appears to be good. We now know the simulator corresponds to the windtunnel, but the differences with what we find in reality are sometimes huge – at Lotus for example, the car changed dramatically between track and simulator.”

Haas will lift the covers off its first F1 car on Monday 22 February ahead of the initial on-track running later that day.

Valentino Rossi may extend Yamaha MotoGP contract until 2018

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07:  Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rounds the bend during the qualifying practice during the MotoGP of Valencia - Qualifying at Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 7, 2015 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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Valentino Rossi may extend his contract with Yamaha in MotoGP until the end of 2018 depending on how he fares in the opening stint of the coming season.

Rossi has won a motorcycle world championship on nine occasions, and came within just four points of a 10th title in 2015 when he narrowly lost out to teammate Jorge Lorenzo at the final race of the year.

Rossi, 36, heads into the final year of his Yamaha contract in 2016, and confirmed to Sky Sports Italia that he would be seeking an extension until the end of 2018 depending on how the beginning of this season goes.

“At the end of 2016 my contract will expire, so I will have to decide whether to continue for another two seasons or not,” Rossi said.

“If I continue, it will be for two seasons as all the contracts are for two years.

“It will be like 2014 when I said I will look at it after the first few races. You have to look at the first five or six races then start thinking.”

Rossi had considered walking away from MotoGP at the end of 2014 after a quiet return to Yamaha the previous year, only for his early-season form to convince him to sign a two-year extension.

Esteban Ocon secures Mercedes DTM seat for 2016

2015 GP3 Series Round 9
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sunday 29 November 2015.
Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C8733
© GP3 Series
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2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.

Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.

The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.

“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.

“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”

Trident completes 2016 GP2 line-up with Armand

2015 GP2 Series Test 3.
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Friday 4 December 2015.
Philo Armand (INA, Status Grand Prix).
Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _L0U4261
© GP2 Series
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Trident has completed its line-up for the 2016 GP2 Series season by signing Indonesian driver Philo Paz Armand.

Armand has previously raced in a number of European Formula Renault 2.0 championships, and most recently took part in half of last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 rounds, scoring one point.

Armand will now step up to GP2 for the 2016 season, racing alongside 2015 GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto at Trident.

“We are very excited to start this collaboration with Philo and we are confident he will express all his talent thanks to the team’s help,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci said.

The grid for GP2’s support series, GP3, is also beginning to come together for the new season following the announcements of Tatiana Calderon and Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi.

Calderon moves into GP3 from FIA F3 and will race for Carlin, while Fukuzumi joins ART Grand Prix, continuing the French squad’s association with Honda.